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10 October 2017, 06:38 | Melissa Porter
JT Brown Speaks out on Anthem Controversy
Before Sunday's game against the Florida Panthers, Lightning right wing Joshua Thomas "J.T".
J.T. Brown, a forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning professional hockey team, has been getting death threats after he raised his fist during the national anthem at a game this past weekend.
In his tweet, the player reiterated his claim that his protest isn't meant to demean the military, the country, or the flag but is instead about "police brutality, racial injustice, and inequality in this country". In addition, Brown made the conscious decision to raise his fist instead of taking a knee or sitting during the anthem as athletes in other sports have done. He used the same protest in a pre-season game a month before.
Brown took to Twitter to express his feelings, especially his thanks to those who support the message he's conveying.
"There's some issues that we have to talk about". So, in my mind, just trying to bring a little more awareness, and any type of conversation that we can get started would be great.
Even having previously raised his fist, though, Brown said post-game on Saturday that he was expecting to face "negative backlash" for joining in the protests that began with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and have since spread to other leagues. "But, in my heart, I know I did what was right".
"I have received racist remarks and death threats because [people] disagree with me because how I chose to raise awareness", he said. He also stated that he did not regret his actions and would continue to speak out.
Brown, one of about 30 black players in the National Hockey League, raised a closed right fist during the anthem before Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Panthers. Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban said that he would "never" kneel during the anthem.
As ESPN notes, the NHL has no specific rules "governing what players must do during the national anthem". The Lightning's game on Saturday, their second of the season, was his first of the year on the active roster.
The team released a statement, saying in part that the organization respects players and their individual choices on social and political issues.
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